Old Toilets vs New Toilets: Let’s Compare and Contrast

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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old toilets vs new toilets

Do you know how to differentiate old toilets from new toilets? It’s not only about the appearance of old toilets vs new toilets, but the main basis is the water consumption for flushing. Old toilets are referred to as the models that were made before or in 1992. They usually consume 2.5 to 8 gallons of water. New toilets are upgraded as they can lower your water bill with water consumption of 1.6 to 1.28 GPF.

For this reason, many would think about replacing old toilets that they have at home. But you must read the whole article first before you decide to change the toilet in your house. It’s best to know all the features of these toilets.

What Old Toilets Do You Refer to?


How much water do old toilets use? The toilets made from 1980 to 1992 function through gravitational force with 2.5 t0 3.6 GPF. Based on the required amount of water, a household can use 18.8 gallons a day. Gravity is involved in the flushing system of these toilets.

Toilets made before 1980 consume 5 to 8 gallons of water per flush. In this case, the daily water consumption of a family can sum up to 48 gallons. Over time, toilets are designed to have lower water consumption.

1. How does an old toilet work?

As mentioned, gravity is responsible for making an old toilet work. It has a water tank too where you can find a lift chain, flush valve, and flapper valve. After pushing the flush lever, the chain raises the flapper valve to give way to the water to go to the flush valve. The water rush sends the waste to the toilet trap until it reaches the house drain system and the sewer.

There are small holes under the rim where water comes out. They’re the reason why the water goes in a circular motion when you flush an old toilet.

2. Some issues with the parts of old toilets

There are chances for the flush handle to be loosened. It wiggles and you can’t flush the toilet. The chain may also be too long but it’s easy to fix and the flapper valve won’t be raised too high. Leakage can happen when the flapper valve is worn out or unaligned. It won’t get in contact with the flush valve and the next thing that you’ll see is the continuous flow of water into the bowl.

There’s also a refill tube in the tank that can loosen from the overflow tube. When this happens, water refills won’t follow suit.

3. The good side of old toilets

Looking at the previous statements, are old toilets worth anything? Despite the weaknesses of old toilets, they have good sides too. They can be found in the simple and uncomplicated design of these toilets. Thus, repairs can be done DIY and you can easily buy the parts from the nearby hardware store.

What’s for the New Toilets?


When there’s a need for replacement toilets, would you get new toilets without thinking further? Toilet makers learn new things as time goes by, so innovations are better than the previous ones. However, nothing is perfect and these toilets require some things to work properly. Many like the idea of saving water when flushing the toilet and that’s the remarkable strength of new toilets.

In 1992, Pres. George Bush Sr. signed EPAct 92 or Energy Policy Act of 1992 for implementation. It contains the mandate of lower water consumption on showerheads, faucets, and urinals. With numerous programs promoted by the local authority and organizations, toilet manufacturers were compelled to design toilets that comply with EPAct 92.

In the early 2000s, high-efficiency toilets were introduced and impressed the public with their 1.6 and 1.28 GPF flushing ability. Everyone can save a lot on their water bill. Apart from saving money, it also does the same thing to the environment. These toilets use water velocity or pressure to get rid of waste. Due to the powerful flush, it’s inevitable to hear noises when flushing.

Comparison of Old Toilets and New Toilets


In new toilets vs old toilets, features that are important for the users are discussed here so it will be easy for them to make decisions.

1. Water usage

Here’s a chart of yearly water usage to make it easy for you to conclude which toilet can make you save money on your water bill.

Toilet GPF The average number of flushes a day Yearly total of used water (per person)
Old toilet 3.5 5 6,388 gal
Old toilet 5 5 9,125 gal
Old toilet 7 5 12,775 gal
Regular toilet 1.6 5 2,920 gal
High efficiency toilet 1.28 5 2,336 gal

High-efficient toilets or the new toilets win in this aspect. Apart from saving hundreds of bucks from your water bill, you also help conserve water by 20% to 60%.

2. Maintenance

The old toilets are prone to leakage when the flapper valve is not in its intended position. When it happens, the toilet can be a mess and you need to clean it even if you just did the regular cleaning. New toilet models won’t give you the same trouble as the water goes downwards because of the pressure and suction. Therefore, it’s easy to maintain the cleanliness of new toilets.

3. Noise

When comparing toilets with the noise they make, old toilets win as they operate quietly. Due to the power system with the presence of pressure, new toilets can create a plane-like noise. When using the toilet in the middle of the night, it can disturb those who are asleep.

4. Repairs

Because of the simple design of the old toilets, necessary repairs are not demanding. You can buy the parts nearby and fix the toilet yourself. The enhancement and additional features in new toilets make their design complex, so repairs are not too easy for an average Joe. In most cases, you’ll need a professional to do it for you. The search for the needed components can be challenging as you need to search online and order them.

Repairs on new toilets can cost you a lot as you’ll have to buy parts and pay for the repairman. It will be more affordable when you do it on an old toilet.

5. Durability

This factor indicates the lifespan of a toilet, but proper maintenance and usage have a role to play. Nonetheless, both of these toilets are made of ceramic. Old toilets have components like the chain, valves, and flush lever that can have problems. Since they’re prone to leakage, these things are prone to breakage and damage. Luckily, it’s easy to replace them.

6. System

Will a new toilet flush better? Yes, it can because of the pressure, which doesn’t need a lot of water to dispose of the waste. Unlike old toilets, there are no chains, valves, and levers that can limit flushing. However, new toilets require a consistent water supply with strong surges and tough pipes. For instance, this requirement is impossible to fulfill when you live on a hill. Thus, an old toilet will work best for you.

When you install new toilets at home, your plumber will likely check the capacity of your pipes. If you don’t meet the standard ones, you need to pay to change the pipes. You have to do it to avoid accidents when these pipes explode.


In old toilets vs new toilets, the former has more advantages in saving water, flushing power, and cleanliness. You can’t get hold of these wonderful things when you don’t have a constant supply of strong water flow and tough pipes. That’s why old toilets are still present nowadays. Anyway, the repairs that they require are not too demanding.

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